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Social modeling is based upon the mental representation of other minds and social interactions among agents. It comprises a class of abilities that underlie the skills people exercise when they understand social situations, interpret narratives, and formulate communicative goals. As such, it is closely connected to emotional intelligence.

The mental representations needed to understand social situations play a critical role in literacy at several levels. Social modeling helps people understand the rhetorical purpose and social meaning of text. It helps people understand social situations depicted in text, particularly in narrative. Beyond the printed word, social modeling plays a key role in people’s ability to behave as social agents, and there is some evidence that virtual experience of social worlds through text will enhance real-world social expertise.

Applied interpretively, the social mode enables readers to situate a text in a larger social frame. Applied expressively, the social mode enables writers to engage audience and purpose by setting appropriate rhetorical goals. If people are metacognitively aware of their own social reasoning and possess appropriate strategies for controlling their own social thinking, they will be able to deliberate on social meaning and become reflective thinkers, readers, and writers. The social mode involves both background knowledge and skills, which will be discussed in detail.

Social Background Knowledge

Literature Note - Social Modeling